The NRM Diaspora League has appeared before the European Union Parliamentary Sub-committee on Human Rights where it presented the government’s stand on alleged human rights abuses and torture of Ugandans.
With particular reference to recent allegations of torturing NUP activist Masereka Samuel and novelist Kakwenza Rukirabasaija, the party through the NRM Diaspora League-Germany chapter led by Lillian Ikulumet emphasized that torture is not in any way, in it’s methods of work.
“The NRM party and government does not condone torture. The president has reiterated this stand several times saying it’s not necessary. The NRM Diaspora League notes that human rights are universal, indivisible, non racial and non gender etc. As a party, we therefore, condemn torture in totality and call upon all human beings to condemn torture in all forms” Lillian Ikulumet who led the team told the EU representatives.
The statement accessed by this news site was drafted by the party’s director for External and Diaspora affairs Maj. Polar Awich for presentation to the EU Parliament, responding to allegations of torture in Uganda.
Ikulumet commended the EU for the role it plays in the development of Uganda. She also appreciated the EU’s concern it attaches to the protection of human rights globally and Uganda in particular.
On the alleged torture of NUP’s Masereka Samuel on December 7 last year, Ikulumet told the EU lawmakers that the matter is being investigated and already some suspects have been netted awaiting trial. As for Kakwenza Rukirabasaija who was arrested on December 28 same year, she said government has taken interest in the matter and investigations are underway.
“Masereka was allegedly picked by security operatives only to reappear at a police facility in Kireka with clearly torture marks mainly seen on the legs and other parts as he clearly explained. Kakwenza was allegedly picked by security operatives and was later produced in court with torture marks allover his body. The government has taken interest in the matter and investigations are underway” she assured the EU Committee on human rights.
She said to that to prove that NRM/government doesn’t condone torture, there are various mechanisms that have been put on place including enactment of laws, ratification of international instruments on human rights, establishment of an independent human rights watchdog (Uganda Human Rights Commission), presidential directives to security services against torture, awards by court to torture victims, visitation of detainees and trial of errant security officers in the military court martial.
“For example, two officers were held for the November 18/19 incidents. There’s also a police officer held over murder at Ntinda” she said.
According to NRM, the main driving factors for torture have been diagnosed and one of them is individual zeal. She added that poor training of security personnel is also another factor.
“Crimes also keep changing shape. This requires thorough training of officers and men. There’s need to train our officers in investigation methods which do not violate a person’s rights. The EU has helped us in this and we hope for more of this assistance” she said, adding that government is committed to train further it’s officers.
She also said government is trying to invest in equipment such as cameras and a presidential directive for all motor vehicles and cycles to have chips for easy tracking. She said this will help in investigation.
“Finally, officers and men found involved in acts of torture acts will be investigated and dealt with. The Anti-Torture Act is clear. When a security officer injures any person in the process of his operation, he or she is held personally liable. Initially, the blame went to the Attorney general, but now we are saying NO. The officer is personally liable” she said.
Ikulumet and her colleague Chelsea Kans, we understood arrived in Brussels a day before to prepare for the presentation of the government position on alleged human rights violations and torture.
READ WHOLE STATEMENT ATTACHED